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Couple fined for dog mess in back yard

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A couple has been fined for ignoring repeated warnings to clear up dog mess from their back yard.

North Tyneside Magistrates heard how the condition of the yard at Chirton Avenue, North Shields, led to a neighbour lodging a complaint with North Tyneside Council’s Environmental Health team.

Following a visit by an Environmental Health Officer, the flat’s tenants Chantelle Johnson, 25, and Shawn Schofield, 23, were sent letters asking them to clean up the mess left by their two dogs.

When there was no improvement, they were served with a formal abatement notice. After this was also ignored, the pair were prosecuted for breaching the abatement notice.

The pair failed to attend North Tyneside Magistrates Court (on Friday 31 January) but were found guilty in their absence and were each fined £440 with £200 costs and a £44 victim surcharge.

Cllr Carl Johnson, cabinet member for Environment, said: “We’re committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“In this case, the accumulation of dog waste is not only unpleasant for others, in particular, their neighbour, but runs the risk of attracting flies and vermin.

“It’s disappointing that the couple ignored all our efforts to resolve the issue informally, leaving us with little option but to prosecute. We welcome the fact that the court has supported our actions.”

The court was told that in January 2019 a neighbour of Johnson and Schofield complained to the Environmental Health team about the amount of dog waste in the back yard of the pair’s ground floor flat.

The neighbour reported that they were unable to use their own back yard because of the smell and the insects that were being attracted by the dog mess.

After visiting the property, an Environmental Health Officer sent a letter to the flat’s tenants, Johnson and Schofield, requesting they regularly remove the waste and disinfect the yard on a weekly basis.

Following continued complaints, they were sent another letter, however, visits by the Environmental Health team confirmed the waste was still not being removed.

On February 27, 2019, they were served an abatement notice under section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The notice required them to remove the dog waste and clear away any further waste within 12 hours.

But visits by an Environmental Health Officer during various dates in April and June confirmed that the dog waste was still not being removed and the pair were charged with failing to comply with the notice.

The Environmental Health service is delivered for North Tyneside Council by its partner Capita.

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